If You Can Get a Reservation, Don’t Miss This Foodie Haven

So I may be sealing LA’s reputation to the rest of the world as casual, carefree, and at times a bit wacky, but this is what I encountered while out and about Santa Monica recently.

Yes, Christmas carolers in bikinis and Speedos, ironically singing about a White Christmas. I wouldn’t have it any other way – even the most rushed and stressed out shoppers began to smile. Great spirit. Loving life.

In that same vein, I recently dined at one of my favorite restaurants, just down the road in a similarly spirited part of L.A.- it is Gjelina on Abbot Kinney in the artsy town of Venice Beach. (pronounced Juh-leena)

I dream about coming here. If you’ve ever had the caramel butterscotch salted pudding, you know exactly what I am talking about. Foodies – back me up.

The menu is seasonal, and robust – there are so many choices, even the pickiest of eaters are satisfied. And I’ve been here with my share of vegetarians, dairy-free friends, etc.

The idea is to order a bunch of small plates and share – There are a mess of plates on every table. The brussel sprouts with balsamic and bacon and kale salad are staples for me.

If the food isn’t enough to wow you, the other elements of Gjelina will – buzzy, high energy atmosphere… cool design… outdoor patio…and our Ashton-Kutcher look alike waiter provided good service.

The downer is it’s a bit loud…  and the LA Dept of Public Health recently rated it –  a “C”!  The Huffington Post wrote about it, as foodies were skeptical. It may be irresponsible of me to say, but if I can get a reservation easier now, I am all over it. Gjelina is THAT good.

Book your dinner way in advance, or else you’ll be left with only 5:30 or 10PM . …oh, and DO NOT forget to order the caramel butterscotch salted pudding for dessert. I am trying to replicate it for Christmas dinner…Santa? The recipe would fit in my stocking…

I hope you enjoy this special time of year of great food, family, and friends.


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